For mystery and suspense fans, here are some titles you may want to add to your summer reading lists.
Julia Spencer-Fleming is one of my favorite authors and her latest, Through the Evil Days, reminded me why. She is a master at building suspense with almost non-stop action while still having the characters drive the story.
Number eight in the Clare Fergusson/Russ van Alstyne series has Clare and Russ leaving for a delayed honeymoon. A week on a frozen lake is an odd destination but Russ needs time to adjust to impending fatherhood and Clare has a decision to make that could end her future with the church. A double homicide and a kidnapped child who needs anti-rejection meds have the rest of Russ’s police force racing against time. Then the ice storm of the century hits. Russ and Clare are stranded and soon find themselves fighting for their lives against the elements and desperate killers who have a kidnapped and now very sick little girl.
Irene Hannon’s Heroes of Quantico series has strong characters and plenty of action. It is labeled Christian Romantic Suspense but the religious aspects are subtle with the action and relationships driving the narratives.
The first in the series, Against All Odds, features Evan Cooper, a member of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). He is normally called in after a kidnapping but his current assignment is to prevent one. A Middle Eastern terrorist is holding hostages and Monica Callahan’s father is the negotiator. Besides money and the release of prisoners this terrorist wants revenge. Half a world away Monica is the leverage he needs to get what he wants and he proves, even with protection, she is vulnerable. Can Evan control his growing attraction to Monica and, with his team, protect her?
An Eye for Eye is next and involves another HRT member, Mark Sanders. Mark is temporarily assigned to the St. Louis office while recovering mentally and physically from a shooting incident. Jogging on a hot August morning he runs into his high school sweetheart, Emily Lawson. Mark only has time to learn that Emily is a clinical psychologist and widow when their reunion is interrupted by a sniper’s bullet. His quick action saves them but the danger isn’t over. The sniper is still out there and to find him they have to figure out who is the target, Mark or Emily?
The third book, In Harm’s Way, involves Nick Bradley and Rachel Sutton. Nick, an FBI agent working in St. Louis, meets Rachel when she brings a tattered doll into his office. She found the snow encrusted doll in a parking lot and is unsettled by the bad vibes she feels when holding it. Nick keeps the doll but dismisses Rachel’s feeling that something bad occurred involving the doll. Then he stumbles onto a link between the doll and a kidnapped infant. Rachel becomes the target of unwanted media attention and as the FBI races to find the missing baby, also the target of a woman who’ll do anything to keep the child she stole.
For a lighter mystery try Vicki Doudera’s series about amateur sleuth Darby Farr. Darby is a real estate agent in Southern California but she solves mysteries on both coasts. The first in the series, A House to Die For, takes place in her hometown, Hurricane Harbor, Maine. Summoned home to finish a sale for her dying aunt, Darby must find who killed the potential buyer and why before she can complete the deal.
After mysteries in Florida, California, and back to Maine Darby is in the Big Apple for Deal Killer. In the city to visit boyfriend Miles they are soon involved with million dollar real estate deals, Russian politics, and murder. With a multitude of suspects, can Darby figure it out before someone else dies?
Doudera always has plenty of suspects and subplots in each book but can sometimes leave things unresolved. That said, I was entertained reading the series and I like the characters; I hope you do too.